Friday, February 10, 2017

A Haunting in Idaho 4: The Ghost Waitress of Idaho Falls

The following true ghost story was told to me by a coworker of mine some years back, and has remained as one of my favorites over the years. It happened in Idaho Falls in the early or mid eighties.
This coworker of mine, Rick, was working at the time as a busboy at the old JB's restaurant on Broadway by the overpass. There was a young waitress working there at the time who I will refer to as Linda. Rick remembered her as a very hard worker that always seemed to be in a cheerful mood and easy to get along with.
Unfortunately, after a period of not feeling well, Linda went to the doctor only to be told that she was in the final stages of a very deadly and aggressively spreading form of cancer. Within a very short time the cancer took Linda from this world, leaving her coworkers at the restaurant reeling in shock at the sudden loss.
A few days after the funeral, Rick stayed late with the manager, John, to help close up the restaurant. When they had locked up the place they went and got in the manager's car, having carpooled to work that night. As they were getting ready to leave, Rick's boss started patting himself and quickly realized that he had left his cigarettes back inside. "I'll be back in a sec," he said, leaving Rick in the car to wait.
John was gone a lot longer than would have been expected for a simple task like retrieving a pack of cigs. Rick began to worry and was just about to go inside to check up on the guy, when John finally returned. According to Rick, the man was as pale as a sheet and trembling!
"Man," Rick said," you look like you've seen a ghost!"
John nodded slowly and whispered, "I did." He then related the following story to a wide-eyed Rick.
John was pretty sure he knew where he'd left his pack of cigarettes and quickly made his way through the restaurant to get them. Indeed, the smokes were right where he remembered leaving them. When John grabbed the pack and turned to leave, he was suddenly frozen in his tracks by a loud crash that came from the kitchen. It sounded like someone had just broken every plate the restaurant owned. He could even hear the distinct scraping sound a plate makes when spinning in its undulating fashion on a tile floor.
His first thought was a thief had concealed himself somewhere in the building and now, having waited for everyone to leave, was in the act of robbing the place when John had come back inside, scaring him. He figured the thief was trying to make his getaway and had accidentally disrupted a stack of plates in the process. Feeling more angry than frightened, John dashed toward the kitchen in hopes of snagging the little rat before he could escape.
Bursting through the back entrance to the kitchen, John was shocked to see nothing wrong with the place. There were no plates smashed into millions of pieces across the floor as he had expected to encounter. He shook his head. Was he losing it? Too many late nights? That's when he heard a thump and looked up to see the big double doors that the wait staff used when picking up orders from the kitchen. Both doors were swinging gently back and forth on their two-way hinges. Someone had just gone through those doors! How he had not seen them was beyond him, but the thief was getting away! John ran to the doors and shoved them open.
His blood turned to ice when he saw Linda! There she was in her waitress uniform and as real and substantial as any living person. Her back was to him, and in stunned silence he watched her walk down the little corridor that led from the kitchen to the dining area, as she had done thousands of times before her untimely death. Then she turned the corner and vanished into thin air! After realizing what he had just witnessed, John ran out of that place as fast as his feet would carry him.

JB's is gone now. Torn down with an Olive Garden in its place. I did manage to eat at JB's a few times though, after hearing this story. Each visit, as I ate my popcorn shrimp--as if it really were popcorn--I couldn't resist taking a moment to wonder and entertain the notion that each night, after the guests dispersed and the place grew quite, perhaps Linda would glide among the tables once more and pass through the kitchen doors, leaving them to swing gently back and forth in the dim silence.

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Images obtained through Google Images and are not my own.

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